@ 2023 Advocate Channel.
All Rights reserved

Queer Representation in Children's Books Is More Important Than Ever, Says Author Seamus Kirst

Queer Representation in Children's Books Is More Important Than Ever, Says Author Seamus Kirst
Josh Moses

Author Seamus Kirst tells Advocate Now how his new children's book Dad and Daddy's Big, Big Family celebrates diversity.

Seamus Kirst is showing kids that they can love and accept themselves and their families just as they are with his newest children's book, Dad and Daddy's Big, Big Family.

Dad and Daddy's Big, Big Family follows the story of a young girl named Harper, who has two dads, as her family attends their first reunion. Kirst tells Sonia Baghdady of Advocate Now that the book "explores what constitutes a family," while celebrating "the diversity that can even exist within one family."

Seamus Kirst on Queer Representation in Children's Books

Kirst was inspired to tell a story about LGBTQ+ families by recent laws in some states that have cracked down on what material can be showed to children. In Florida, a colloquially-named "Don't Say Gay" law prevents sexual orientation from being discussed in classrooms K-12.

"I wanted to do books that had more matter-of-fact representation of LGBTQ people, especially with all these laws," Kirst said, noting that books are "being banned in more than half of the states in our country -- specifically LGBTQ books."

"I wanted to kind of like push back on that by being like, okay, well, this book isn't even saying gay, but it's just representing gay people because gay people exist," Kirst continued.

Kirst's first children's book, Papa, Daddy and Riley, was banned by several schools in the country, and appeared on the American Library Association's banned books list just months after its release. While Kirst was saddened by what he calls "reactive mayhem," he says that he "honestly wasn't surprised."

"It's really depressing and morally reprehensible," he said. "But one of the things that's so crazy about it, is I'm sure people don't even read any of these books that they're banning."

To Kirst, it is "important to illustrate" representation in a children's book, especially at a time when "there's such an active movement against this representation." Still, he believes that Dad and Daddy's Big, Big Family has lessons that can impact families even if they aren't in the LGBTQ+ community, as "representation is also really important in every family."

Kirst explains: "I think we all need to do everything we can to push back against that, because every minute we're not doing that, we're being pushed in the other direction."

For more interviews like these, watch Advocate Now on The Advocate Channel.

From our sponsors

From our partners

Top Stories